Good question. Not here writing for you, unfortunately, but cranking out a lot of bits to the Interwebs none the less.
Last week, I was at the Aircraft Electronic Association trade show for my client Aero-TV. I was part of a team that put together two live webcasts from the convention floor. As the final interview of the shows, I had the opportunity to chat with AEA president Paula Derks about the Association and its role in the aviation community. Of course, when I say I was part of the team, what I really mean is there were a bunch of talented people there making me look good, and I filled my usual role of sitting in front of the camera and talking. It’s what I do.
What was very interesting about the entire experience, though, was that at the end of the day, it was no different than being on broadcast television. The cameras took the same pictures, they needed the same lights, though we used a much softer light than I’m used to in the studio. It was shot in HD, the switcher interface on the computer screen looked like a TV switcher … there were camera operators and a producer … all just like old times.
Of course, the AEA show was where they introduce all the cool toys, and if there’s one thing aviation is famous for, it’s cool toys.
Ok, so that takes care of a few days last week. But a few days before going down to Orlando for the show, I got to ride along as a second set of eyes during an air-to-air photo shoot for one of Piper’s 50th anniversary PA-28 Archer III’s. As much as I love flying, and for all the times I’ve been in a little airplane, being this close to another little airplane, even with two very experienced pilots at the controls, gets the adrenaline going just a bit. On this day, I mostly watched for other traffic, both on the TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) and out the window. While technology has made things a lot easier, there’s nothing like a good pair of eyes looking out the window to make sure you’re in “see and avoid” mode.
Tuesday, I was in Lakeland for a fly-in, and covered the delivery of the first Piper Sport to a customer … actually three customers who got the keys to their new airplane. It made me jealous. This is a really sweet little airplane in the Light Sport category that would be a lot of fun just to go knock around in, or take on a cross-country up to, say, Miami of Ohio where my daughter is in school. A head turner on the ramp, too. If it has a drawback, its that there are only two seats in the airplane, and there are times when I’d want to take more than one person with me … sort of like my old MR2 that I had when Jenni was born. This would certainly take the place of that. Now if I only had an extra $139,000 burning a hole in my pocket. Where’s that lottery when you need it?
This one, I have to take on faith that it flies. But if there was ever an appropriate place to see it, it’s near the Florida swamps. Yes, that’s a V-hull aluminum boat that’s been turned into a bi-plane. The pilots’ seat, and it’s the only seat aboard, is a white plastic Home Depot lawn chair bolted to the hull. There’s a bilge pump, which you’d expect. A sign on the airplane read “Sunshine Clipper Amphibian Biplane,” and below was the legend “A one-of-a-kind, amateur-built-novelty hull amphibian.” In that they are entirely correct. As much as I love to photograph old and unusual boats, I just had to have pics of this old (looking at least) unusual FLYING boat. It made my day.
Otherwise, I’ve been editing tons of stuff for Aero-News.net, writing my column for “The Jacksonville Observer”, hosting The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show on Wednesday afternoons, which is my only connection to traditional media at the moment, and trying to find some time for The Improv Effect and Republican Party politics.
So what had to give? “Life’s a Beach”, unfortunately. But I’ll still be here when I can, and work to make time for y’all as the summer progresses.
Speaking of the radio show, our guest this coming Wednesday is just-announced candidate for Mayor of Jacksonville Rick Mullaney. Join us Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 on ABC 1320, WBOB.